Ravine Find: Buick Roadmaster Woody Wagon

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

It’s rare that we’re allowed to see how a seller came into the good fortune of owning a roughshod project, but the photo here shows the lengths one owner went to in order to save a rare Buick Roadmaster wagon. Said to have been pulled from a ravine in Wyoming, this was originally a wooden-bodied Estate Wagon. Seen here on eBay, the seller believes it is worth restoring and is asking $6,995.

And here’s what’s left: truthfully, it’s not as bad as I was expecting, but we’re still curious as to why you’d choose to bury a car rather than scrap it at the end of its useful life. Whether the car was previously stuffed in the rear or the back end damage is a result of being pushed into the undergrowth is is unknown, but it’s clear the must-have wooden tailgate is long-gone (along with all other wood cladding).

Surprisingly, there’s still some good glass and a steering wheel attached, and it appears the motor is attached to the front of the trailer. We have to say, it’s impressive that even as this Roadmaster was coming out in pieces out of the growth, the seller didn’t flinch and kept pulling. The original black exterior is supposedly a big reason why, as the wood-bodied Estate Wagons are particularly handsome in black – but that’s just one man’s opinion.

The front clip evidently didn’t remain attached as it was yanked from the ravine, but it appears to be in relatively good shape, all things considered. Another layer of intrigue comes from the fact that this wagon sports a speedometer in kilometers, going up to 180 and likely indicating this was originally a Canadian market vehicle. Overall, it’s hard to determine if there’s enough of a car here to make it worth restoring. What do our Buick experts think?

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  1. MH

    Wow. Not worth the trouble. Looks to far gone to fix. Take what ever parts you can and scrap it.

    • Karguy James

      Looks like he already did take any of the usable parts for the other woody he restored and sold. Everything “woody” on that wagon is destroyed or missing.

  2. Brian

    I highly doubt it’s a Canadian market car. We didn’t start the metric system til the late ’70s. I would assume this Buick would have been a European unit when new and was brought into the U.S.? My dad used to have a ’77 Olds Delta 88, i remember him cursing everytime he worked on that car because of the mixture of metric and standard fasteners, this was the beginning of the metric era in Canada and we’ve been stuck with it ever since.

    • Andre

      Metric came to Canada in 1970, so not the case for this Roadmaster.. which says it may have a pretty cool history!

      • Mark S

        Metric came to cars in Canada in 1978

  3. newfieldscarnut

    Grave robbers .

  4. Chebby

    Looks like some nice chrome parts are there. That’s it.

    Paging Beverly Hills Car Club….

    • jimbunte jimbunte Member


    • Woodie Man

      Owner is to put it mildly, optimistic .

  5. LAB3

    Something tells me this is some good ‘ole boys playing a joke, or perhaps the effects of a methamphetamine bender.

    • Steve R

      Check out his other eBay listings, he has over 200 items listed, with only a handful of sales. All at or above the high end of the market.

      Steve R

      • Andre

        Ya.. Think his asking might be more suitable with the decimal moved. Maybe.

      • packrat

        Well, I usually set my motor on about three, and use 2-4 oz of weight on a quick strike rig, have six at a time off the sides of the boat–but his is yet another way to go Trolling For Suckers.

    • 86 Vette Convertible

      Not so sure on that one. I’ve seen old car bodies dropped into ravines to help control runoff and flood damage in some areas. Old cars were cheap and easily available than concrete many times.

      • Andre

        nobody hate me please

      • LAB3

        Makes sense to me! As long as the fluids are drained before putting them in there I’ve got zero objections.

      • half cab

        could burry hugh hefner in it?

    • leiniedude

      I’m with you LAB3. That ravine photo looks about 25 years old. As far as being left in the ravine as opposed to being scrapped, in Wisconsin back in the day you would go for one last crazy ride. Leave it in the timber when she died, jump in your buddies Jeep and go look for another beater. I could see it happening in Wyoming as well.

      • Dave

        In Wyoming, there’s a yard in every car. When I last drove through I had a hard time finding the yard at most places.

  6. grant

    Not for 7 grand…

  7. 68 custom

    it is interesting and was certainly a beauty when it rolled out of the factory. but you got to really want a 53 woody to lay out almost 17k for this and the parts car his friend has just as a starting point.

  8. DanaPointJohn

    The seller says it could be a $150K car. Good thing, because to get this one to that valuation it will take every penny of that amount. With that said, these are beautiful cars when restored.

  9. Terry J

    The BREAKS. They are rolling hills that I would stand at the summit of and look down into the Walla Walla valley many miles away ( and down) . The hills start gentile enough, but get steeper and steeper . Mark had a ’36 Pontiac coupe out at the farm nearby. It was really solid ( in 1965 ) but meant nothing to him so he and his pals drove it to the breaks, tied the steering wheel straight, put it in neutral and let’ter go down the side. I never had the heart to trek the miles it would have traveled at increasing speed until it hit the bottom. THAT’s how cars in ravines happen sometimes. When I heard about it I looked up Mark and told him that I woulda given him $25 for that car ( $1 an hour wages in those days). He was shocked and then unhappy. 🙁 Terry J

  10. BudMan

    Let sleeping dogs lie.

  11. Dave Wright

    I pulled a 1949 Buick Roadmaster Convertible out of a similar place 35 years ago……..turned into a good car but was more complete and less rusted than this one. The person that put it there knew I liked old cars and told me where it was buried under 10 years of orchard prunings on his family ranch. About the same time I pulled a 1967 Mini Cooper out of a riverbank erosion project similar to Andre’s photo. We did a complete restoration on that one. I am sure it is still on the streets somewhere in Utah. The Buick eventually was sold to California after we got it running and replaced the top….still needed an interior but made a years wages as a young military guy.

  12. sir mike

    Sad story…The Roadmaster woody is…or was in this case….a beautiful wagon.

  13. Rex Kahrs

    Is pot legal in Wyoming? Even if it’s not, somebody out there is smoking some.

  14. Dan


  15. Dan

    Very interesting. Wonder if it was stolen way back when, or this was just a convenient place to ditch a parts car. Where are the seats and such?

  16. Gary

    OK everybody, including the author, there is nothing about this car that dictates that the odometer is showing kilometers, or that it was for overseas, or Canada, or whatever! It’s just plain old Miles Per Hour, mph, shown in increments of 20 by digits, with the “odd” (think 10. 30. 50, etc.) shown in single line increments between the 0, 20, 40, etc. It was one of Buick’s bragging rights back in 1953; back when all the U.S. manufactures were bragging about their “top end speeds.” I mean, really, are we that mesmerized by this write up due to the nature in which this ‘ravine find’ came to be? Not even 10 years after we dropped the big one to end the war does anyone really think the US auto makers were already onboard with adopting “world practices”? I think not. My 1990 Dodge Dynasty (pronounced Die-nasty) has the same layout on the speedometer; showing 0, 20, 40, etc., up to 160; really? 160!? I’ve seen 110 happen, but that’s not the point here. This is just bragging rights of old – who’s got the fastest, not who can get there the quickest, just who has the highest top end.

    • Dominic Martinelli

      No, that is indeed a metric speedometer for intended for export markets. Probably Mexico or another Latin American nation. A US market or Canadian Market Buick would have had a speedometer just like this one.

    • Clay Bryant

      This must have been a racing Buick station wagon to have a 180 mph speedometer. Faster then 53 Ferraris……………. Faster then a speeding Dodge Dynasty…………….

  17. JW

    Scrap metal !!!

  18. Miguel

    Whoever takes on this project I wish all the luck in the world.

  19. TR

    The last Mecum Auction a mildly custom 50’s Buick Wagon sold somewhere in the 20’s. I bet whomever did that one lost money. This one is closer to $600

  20. memikeyounot

    I’d love to see what happens to this car once it finds a buyer.

  21. Gary

    I want to apologize to the readers & especially the writer of this article; it seems that the EBay seller is the clueless one here. I didn’t read the sellers own words stating that it shows kilometers. Imagine all the knowledge this guy has for these rare wagons. Damn straight! Buyer Beware! Again, my apologies to the readers here for my earlier comments.

  22. Jim Lee

    In Missouri, lots of old cars ended up in ravines to prevent washout. Floating down the Big River, a tributary of the Meramac River outside of St. Louis, the banks were full of cars, especially on riverbends. Cars were plentiful and cheaper than rock, easier to place.
    My brother and I called them ‘riverbank cars’ http://www.thecarpetbagger.org/2013/04/automotive-riverbank-preservation.html

    • leiniedude

      Living on a small river in Wisconsin I have to disagree with dumping vehicles down a river bank. I really like nature, old cars and canoeing. This is a cheap excuse to get rid of cars. In the photo from Jim Lee I just do not see them doing any erosion help. There is plenty of foliage to contain the erosion. That would be a huge flood to get that high. Rock is cheap. I drive a dump truck part time so I know. Sure, not as easy as pushing and old car off the bank. As old as they are, I really doubt any fluids were drained. The photo Andre posted is brutal in my opinion. I would prefer to look at old rigs in the boneyard as opposed to see them lining the banks of any river while I am searching for some fish. Would I paddle over and take a look? Hell yes! Still litter and prefer not to see it.

    • Kevin

      omg sadness

  23. volksdude

    I seem to remember this story with the same pics a few years ago. I think on this site.

  24. RNR

    The seller’s ’54 Plymouth wagon listed on eBay is an even bigger hoot than this one.

  25. CJ

    $6995.00 for a bucket of rust! Get real!!! Take this poor thing back where it was found and rebury it……

  26. newfieldscarnut

    Barn find Woody . A Woody with solid wood is good … my 1947 Super Woody .

    • leiniedude

      Looks like a great score newfieldscarnut. Best of luck! Keep us updated, thanks, Mike.

  27. JP in WI

    Anything is restorable–people have started with far less than what this guy is offering.. I don’t care about the price asked–to the right buyer–this car may be just the ticket to show all the naysayers and gold-chain crowd what talent can do with time absent of dollars…

  28. Rolf Poncho 455

    It will buff out

  29. MarkEd

    Will make a great $150,000 car, with a $500,000 investment.

  30. P Wentzell

    I remember a road trip through the Pacific Northwest, pulling over at a ‘scenic view’ spot for us tourists, looking down the ravine and seeing what was left of a 1962 Thunderbird. The Park official there told me the car crashed there from the late 1960’s, the people were rescued, what was left of the car was left there.

  31. rustylink

    there’s enough parts there for some wall art in your man cave or garage…

  32. Paul

    Just normal patina, some guy’s may try the rattle can clear coat to preserve the finish from rusting further or spay on some termite treatment to preserve the wood!!
    I say spay some WD40 on the pistons let it soak in and drive it to the show!!
    After all they are only original once!!

  33. Brad C

    So much of it is gone. For a few hundred bucks in the hands of a talented person… it would make for a really cool, guilt-free project. I’m thinking phaeton-style four door convertible that retains the lower half of the tailgate… and a 50/50 split rear bench that folds flat for surf boards or wet dogs. Finish off the wood bed with stainless strips, and point yourself toward the Pacific.

  34. Cattoo

    I didn’t notice any bullet holes in it. Nearly every car we found in the creek holding up the walls had bullet holes in it. Some were already there when we found it. Others when we left it.

  35. CaCarDude

    It appears to me this would make for a good parts car rather than a project. The cost to restore this once beautiful old Buick would far exceed the value,.. in the current old car price guide this in number one condition is valued at $96k
    I do think these will hold their value and will increase over time since only 670 of this model 79 Estate Wagon were built. How many are still around? My guess would be fewer than say 50? A nice find even in this condition.

  36. Chris

    What is left to restore?

  37. Arild Guldbrandsen

    Heres a French tourist in a Woody Buick,in Norway in late fifties.


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